Learning Notes, Week of Ash Wednesday

Bella reads Ben's library book to him

Bella reads Ben’s library book to him

Monday, Feb 16

Dom had a holiday, but had to try to get the broken snowblower repaired. I saw no reason to cancel school as the high was 16 degrees. Too cold to go anywhere.

Sophie did a page of copywork, after a rocky start where she just couldn’t get her capital D satisfactory and the whole first line just didn’t want to work either. She took a break and came back and was fine. She did a page of math, grumbling about Bella being too noisy. And then she read me a few pages of Michael Bedard’s Emily.

Bella did some copywork, drew a picture, read a phonics lesson off the whiteboard, drew some more, played, got distracted, finally did a page of math. Then read me a few pages of Emily from where Sophie left off.

Ben did a short math lesson.

I drew some flowers with crayons and goofed around with scissors, cutting out spiral shapes from my flowers and hanging them on the curtain rod.

After lunch story time.

We finally finished The Thirteen Days of Christmas. The book got lost under the bookcase and I finally found it, then it got misplaced in the living room. So when it caught my eye today I was determined to finally finish it. Read the last three chapters and everyone really enjoyed the ending. Read the first chapter of Canadian Summer. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it, so very funny. Then read Little Town at the Crossroads and Plum Creek.

While I read everyone played with a chunk of modeling clay. Then halfway through story time Sophie got bored with the clay and instead got out the box of art postcards and flipped through them.

The kids watched the Blue Planet episode about coral reefs.

After that was over they went back to the art cards and played a game where they were museum owners building their own collections.

Bedtime stories: Dom read them a library book, an Indian fairy tale.

Bella reads Emily.

Bella reads Emily.

Sophie reads Emily

Sophie reads Emily

Sophie and Ben look at the art cards

Sophie and Ben look at the art cards

Sophie looks at the art cards

Sophie looks at the art cards

Ben, Sophie, and Bella take turns in an impromptu kitchen sing off. Ben is judging while his sisters sing. The winner will become the judge.

Ben, Sophie, and Bella take turns in an impromptu kitchen sing off. Ben is judging while his sisters sing. The winner will become the judge.

Tuesday, Feb 17

I began the day with homemade cinnamon rolls to celebrate Mardi Gras. Sadly, they were a bit underdone and doughy. But the kids ate them anyway.

Sophie did copywork, math, and read The Salamander Room to me. Bella dragged her feet and finally did a bit of copywork, staggered through a page of math, and then read me all but the last page and a half of A Medieval Feast.

I was just launching in to a short reading about Lent when Lucy came in howling about her nose. Did you hit your nose? No. She kept trying to tell me what had happened but she was crying too hard for me to make out any words. It sounded like she was saying something about Anthony. But I couldn’t make it out. Eventually she calmed down enough for me to understand. There’s a bead in your nose? You put a bead in your nose? Really? Oh yes she was sure. I turned on my phone’s flashlight and sure enough there was a shiny red bead in one nostril.

So of course I texted Dom and tried to collect my thoughts. It was snowing outside and the temperature was in the teens, but I was going to have to get her to a doctor. I did not want to try to fish it out myself. I called the pediatrician and they could get her in at one. So about an hour to get the kids lunch and then we would go. Lucy seemed ok with waiting now that she was calm. So I went to the kitchen and began to make sandwiches. And before I’d finished getting everyone something to eat, Lucy came in with a joyful shriek and announced that the bead came out. She handed it to me, a little red-orange air gun pellet, one of a collection Bella had gathered at a friend’s house last year. I was so very relieved not to have to get everyone out to the doctor.

We finished lunch, Lucy went down for a nap. I read the kids the rest of the article on Lent, then Canadian Summer, Little House in Brookfield. Plum Creek. Then the day’s Gospel passage. I wasn’t able to satisfactorily answer Bella’s question about it.

Then the kids watched Blue Planet. And Dom brought home burgers.

Bella reads A Medieval Feast

Bella reads A Medieval Feast

Sophie reads The Salamander Room

Sophie reads The Salamander Room

The bead that Lucy stuck up her nose

The bead that Lucy stuck up her nose

Wednesday, Feb 18

Mass early. Then the library, a last second decision when I noticed they were finally open. They were closed on Saturday, turns out it was massive water damage. So my books weren’t marked late after all, except for the ones we hadn’t found. We stayed for a while. They had some new toys, the kids looked at books. Sophie and Bella each read a book, I think.

When we got home Bella read Ben part of his Berenstein Bears book.

At lunch I read the day’s Gospel and briefly discussed fasting, prayer, almsgiving.

After Lucy was down for her nap I read a couple of the library books. I really liked one that Bella got about the Japanese internment camps. We also read Canadian Summer, Plum Creek, LT at the Crossroads, Faith and Life catechism chapter on the Good Shepherd. And then the beginning of the Gospel of John and the Gospel of Luke and all of the book of Jonah.

Then the kids didn’t know what to do with themselves as they’d decided to not watch a show. I photocopied some coloring pages of Jesus and Mary and angels and put on my Lenten playlist and they happily colored away while I began dinner prep. At some point I remembered I’d wanted to put up a big cross made out of butcher paper for them to record their sacrifices on. They were inspired to hang up their coloring pages all around the cross while pretending they were building a church. Then they decided to play Mass. I got down the Mass kit and Sophie, Ben, and Bella took turns playing priest. It’s interesting to overhear them trying to get all the parts in the right order. Bella did a good job reading a Gospel passage from the Bible story book and improvising a homily. She was the supervisor, the one most able to keep track of what they should be doing next.

Bedtime stories, Goodnight Moon and a book about lizards.

The congregation wait for Mass to begin

The congregation wait for Mass to begin

Bella plays priest

Bella plays priest

Bella plays priest

Bella plays priest

Bella plays priest, reading the Gospel

Bella plays priest, reading the Gospel

Ben reads the Gospel

Ben reads the Gospel

Ben plays priest

Ben plays priest

Ben plays priest

Ben plays priest

Ben plays priest

Ben plays priest

Thursday, Feb 19

Grocery day.

I got Bella and Sophie to do a bit of school work. Sophie did math and copy work. Bella did math. Then we got ready to go. It took a while to shovel the drive and clear the car. The diggers came through at about 1am and widened the road, dumping the snow into everyone’s front yards. The berm at the end of our yard is now about 8 feet high. It’s crazy!

So we went to the store and got all the things. Came home and the kids put on snow pants and went to play outside. It was 21 degrees out, but with almost no wind. And after the cold snap we’ve had, it felt almost balmy. I was actually overheated while shoveling and had to take off my hat and unbutton my coat. Yes, it’s kind of weird when 21 feels nice. This is why New Englanders are so weird.

We had late lunch and late nap, so not very much in the way of stories. Canadian Summer and Little Town at the Crossroads and also today’s lectionary readings. LTatC had a mention of Caroline learning a lazy daisy stitch. The girls and I were curious about that so I looked it up. We watched a You Tube video demonstrating it. Then we watched half a dozen more demonstrating chain stitch, threaded running stitch, backstitch. running stitch, and French knots. After that the girls were eager to do some embroidery. Sophie picked up her St Therese which she’s been working on. Bella grabbed a piece of felt and tried out all the new stitches. She was quite handy, doing them from memory or with a little prompting from me. I was quite impressed with her straight and even running stitch.

Ben helps to shovel the drive

Ben helps to shovel the drive

Bella is king of the mountain

Bella is king of the mountain

Our house seems almost buried from the street

Our house seems almost buried from the street

Friday, Feb 20

Anthony’s birthday

Got up and opened presents before breakfast. I figured with the excitement and new toys, getting much work done would be a challenge.

Bella did a page of math. Sophie did copywork and math. Bella did read one of Anthony’s new books to the boys.

I read Anthony’s new books: A Saint and His Bees, The Angel’s Alphabet, Katie and the Starry Night.

Afternoon stories: Canadian Summer, Little Town at the Crossroads, several selections from the picture Bible.

Sophie plays with Anthony's new pirate blocks

Sophie plays with Anthony’s new pirate blocks

Bella looks at Lucy through the window

Bella looks at Lucy through the window

Bella and Ben frolic in the snow

Bella and Ben frolic in the snow

Bella and Sophie help knock icicles off the eaves

Bella and Sophie help knock icicles off the eaves

Sophie takes a tumble

Sophie takes a tumble

Saturday, Feb 21

Bella read to Dom from Farmer Boy. Her reading aloud is definitely improving. She is very motivated to read from novels and harder books when Daddy is the audience.

Bella and Ben watch Uncle John and the cousins shovel snow off the roof.

Bella and Ben watch Uncle John and the cousins shovel snow off the roof.

4 Responses to Learning Notes, Week of Ash Wednesday

  1. Jenny February 24, 2015 at 11:17 am #

    “When we got home Bella read Ben part of his Berenstein Bears book. ”

    We have a whole pile of Berenstein Bear books and I detest them. I see them strewn about and am so tempted to just toss the lot of them, but the children, for reasons I cannot comprehend, adore them. So how do you feel about them?

    Another question: how much time, on average, do you spend reading out loud to the children? It seems like you spend a couple of hours a day, but I might be overestimating. I have a hard time reading out loud. It makes me tired which sounds weird, but it’s true.

    • Melanie Bettinelli February 24, 2015 at 10:17 pm #

      I detest the Berenstein Bears books. I hate reading them with a passion. It’s torture. We don’t own any of them, though. They just get them from the library and while I could veto them, I’m usually not int he mood for dealing with meltdowns at the library. Easier for them to bring them home and me to refuse to read them here.

      I was so thrilled that Bella read it to Ben so I didn’t have to. She used to love them, but I made my feelings clear. I’ll read them one time and that’s it. Eventually she decided that she wasn’t a fan either. So it was really nice of her to read a book she wasn’t personally interested in.

      I’d say two hours is about right on most school days. Usually from about 1 to 3 or from 2 to 4. With frequent interruptions and bathroom and snack breaks, of course. Some days we might do less. Some days a little more. Reading out loud makes me tired when I’m pregnant. But usually I like it. It’s fun and usually entertains me as much as it does them.

      • Jenny February 26, 2015 at 11:13 am #

        Now that you say it, I think we have discussed the Berenstein books before. They vex me.

        As for reading out loud, I am good for about 30 minutes if the story good and then I am worn out. Also I can’t do voices so I’m not sure how entertaining I am to hear.

        • Melanie Bettinelli February 26, 2015 at 10:46 pm #

          I can’t do voices to save my life. Dom does voices and the kids complain about it. They yell and protest loudly.

          Also, sometimes I fall asleep while reading. I regularly nod off during bedtime stories. Today I read one chapter and then was out like a light, sounds asleep while five kids played noisily until finally I woke up enough to shoo them out of the room so I could finish my nap.

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